Questions and Answers

Q. I came across your site and found it to be helpful. However it does not seem to be updated very often; is the site still active?

A. I've gotten really busy writing books and having a life, so the repository hasn't developed as rapidly as I would have liked. It's still alive, and could use some energetic contributors...maybe you!

Q. I kind of like your idea, but as you know there are many sites with all kinds of scripts and code, such as Revealnet (now part of Quest).

A. Yes I agree, and Revealnet in particular does a great job of providing a lot of useful PL/SQL resources in one place.  I have no desire (nor ability) to duplicate what they've done.  I see several key aspects of the new effort that make it different: There is also a repository housed by IOUG-A (and other user groups).  I know that the IOUG-A system is limited to members only, which is opposite the direction I think the new repository should go.

Please, if anyone thinks further differentiation from Revealnet and the other repositories is required for the survival of the new repository, I would like to continue this thread of discussion.

Q. You may want to consider widening the scope, not only PL/SQL, but all things related to Oracle development and DBA.

A. Yes, I definitely did consider this and discussed it with some contributors.  There isn't 100% agreement, but my position is that by keeping the scope completely focused on PL/SQL, we have the best chance for success.  Particularly since this is a volunteer effort, we should not try to be all things to all people (lest we wind up being nothing at all).  I'd like to succeed with something small first, and maybe there can spinoff efforts later.

Q. Oracle is expensive, and you can make money on any software for it, so why do it for free?

A. A few years ago, I would have agreed with this sentiment.  But now I think there is sufficient momentum in the open source movement (largely thanks to Linux, Apache, Perl, Java) to overcome this objection.  For many situations, quality software can be eaiser and cheaper to develop as open rather than closed source.  One open source evangelist goes so far as to say "the closed-source world cannot win an evolutionary arms race with open-source communities that can put orders of magnitude more skilled time into a problem."  (from chapter 10 of The Cathedral and the Bazaar at

Certainly not everyone will be willing to contribute.  But if there are a million PL/SQL programmers in the world, and if only 1/100 of 1% of them will give something, that's 100 contributors, which seems like reasonable odds to me.

Q. It's all gonna take at least couple of full-time people to control and organize things.

A. I sincerely hope it won't take two full-time people!  Other open source repositories on the web are also run by volunteers who have "real" jobs.  We should be able to learn from them how to split up the effort so the burden is not too great on any one person.

Q. Also, as I understand, somebody we'll need to spend significant amount of time to write new books/docs for free.

A. It doesn't all have to be new.  For example, I know that the following can be made available fairly quickly: Other authors are likely to contribute of some part of their already published work.  I would think that many publishers would agree to releasing a chapter, or part of a chapter, or some source code, in the interest of contributing to the community (and promoting their books, of course.)  See the next item.

Q. Since you, for instance, can't just put source code from your book open to the web, can you? O'Reilly is not gonna be happy about it.

A. Actually, O'Reilly has already pledged some support to the effort.  As an initial commitment after a 10-minute phone conversation, O'Reilly has agreed to make one chapter from each of their PL/SQL books available in electronic form for the repository, and they have also committed to releasing source code from the books (in the cases where O'Reilly holds the copyright to the source).  They have also offered to help us publicize the project via their web site and in a future catalog.

[BTW, this shouldn't surprise us too much.  O'Reilly is a great supporter of open source and they already release excerpts from various books on the web.  In fact, they have contributed the entire contents of the "Using Samba" book to the Samba user community.  See (or any of the Samba mirror sites).]

Q. Who's going to develop a full-featured FAQ? (we need to cover 1000s of questions to make it full)

A. Great question.  That's why we need volunteers!  We could start from the position that there is an existing PL/SQL FAQ (see and we just need to encourage people to contribute to it.  Frank Naudé, maintainer of that FAQ, is definitely on board as a supporter of PLNet.

Q. It would be nice to have support from Oracle. If they want to sell they stuff (and beat their competition), they SHOULD  support any idea that promotes Oracle. Unfortunatelly, real life is not so simple, and they probably won't care

A. As it turns out, we have recently (May 2000) received an endorsement from the PL/SQL development team at Oracle.

Last modified 05-Mar-2003 9:40 AM